Ralph Nader with money? A celebrity with money who thinks like Nader? A Clinton walkout at the Denver convention? None of the above, actually. Instead, it is Dr. Deborah Travis Honeycutt who declares herself the Democratic Party's worst nightmare. She says so in a letter I found in my post office box this morning. How does she back up this claim? Because "I am a black Republican woman and I am running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives."
Yes, I was skeptical, too, for I didn't recall Democrats losing sleep over Alan Keyes when he ran against Barack Obama for that Senate seat. But I forget: Keyes wasn't a woman, only a lunatic. Apparently a black Republican woman will be the Democrats' ruin. In fact, Dr. Honeycutt is a black Republican conservative woman. That means "I believe in the value of hard work, personal responsibility, taking home more of what you earn and the sanctity of human life."
Dr. Honeycutt believes that "the Democrat Party has been selling the black community a bill of goods. They have been making worthless promises to entire generations of people....I intend to call the Democrats on it in this election, and that terrifies them." Her charge may well be true, but the terror she perceives is either very slight or very local, since I'd never heard of her before receiving this letter, and had she so scared folks, I figure I'd have read about it in The Nation, In These Times, The American Prospect, etc. by now. Maybe I missed it.
But perhaps there's a conspiracy of silence. Dr. Honeycutt tells me herself that "they will stop at nothing to silence me" because "they don't like me saying" that "the policies that they have been advocating for the past 30 years have not helped African Americans one bit." Her solution, of course, are the policies that the Republican party has been advocating for the past 30 years. Maybe that's why people are ignoring her.
2008 will see Dr. Honeycutt's second campaign against the incumbent in her Georgia district, David Scott. Even though at least one black leftist website has labeled Rep. Scott the worst black congressman and a sellout to corporate America, Honeycutt portrays him as a puppet of the left. "He does whatever the radical liberal wing of his party tells him to," most obnoxiously opposing a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Now for the inevitable. I can't vote in Dr. Honeycutt's district, but I can give her money. She explains that Rep. Scott gets 81% of his campaign money from "radical leftist groups across the country," so she appeals to the nationwide conservative movement (including me, presumably, as a subscriber to The American Conservative) to make it a fair fight, so she can "run a campaign that exposes just how left wing my opponent really is." No fewer than five times in her letter she asks for donations as small as $35, but preferably as much as $2,300.
As of last February, Dr. Honeycutt had raised approximately $1,218,000 for the 2008 campaign. Most of it seems to come from outside Georgia. Reportedly, that's more than Rep. Scott has raised, but it's clearly not enough. For her purposes, of course, no sum, however large, will be enough. I may be making a generalization here, but so long as conservative Republicans appear incapable of solidarity with working people or poor people, or anybody beside the unborn, they'll never gain mass support in black communities. The doctor's platform of "Fair Tax," National Security (without explicitly endorsing the "Patriot Act," I note) Supporting the Troops (without explicitly endorsing the war, I also note) and Overturning Roe v. Wade just isn't going to do it. Of course, black and white alike recognize "personal responsibility" as nothing but a euphemism for "every man for himself," and we can all tell when blatant militarism belies any dedication to "the sanctity of human life." But for all their vaunted wisdom gained from history and experience, conservatives, especially the Bushite strain, are often quite naive, and those naive folks are the ones most likely to throw their money down the obvious rat hole that is the Honeycutt campaign. She may not be any liberal's nightmare, but she's many conservatives' dream come deceptively true.